Research Reactor Section

IAEA Support of Research Reactor HEU to LEU Fuel Conversion


The TC National Project ROM/4/024 to complete the conversion of the 14 MW TRIGA-reactor in Pitesti, Romania became fully operational in 2003. A contract to supply the fresh LEU fuel was signed in November 2003.

It is important to note that during the implementation of this project, fuel supply operations were transitioning from General Atomics to the CERCA facilities in France. This challenge was managed by CERCA with no adverse impact on the project cost, schedule or quality.

Under this contract, IAEA officials together with officials from the Comisia Nationala pentru Controlul Activitatilor Nucleare (CNCAN) and the Institute for Nuclear Research (ICN), Pitesti, jointly carried out a QA audit and technical acceptance inspections from 2004 to 2006.

The final lot of LEU fuel was delivered to Pitesti in March 2006. The fuel was loaded into the reactor by May 2006, completing the full-core conversion. The last irradiated HEU fuel elements were removed from the TRIGA by May 2006 and after several years of cooling, this U.S.-origin HEU was shipped to the United States in 2008.

IAEA assisted Romania and the NNSA in repatriating the remaining, Russian origin HEU during 2009. The final shipment of spent HEU fuel was transferred by air.

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